Seth Thomas 12 Inch Drop Octagon. Mahogany case. Time Strike & Calendar. Dated 1910. This example has it all.

This ‘Drop Octagon Twelve Inch’ was made by the Seth Thomas Clock Company of Thomaston, Connecticut in June of 1910. This clock is dated with the Seth Thomas manufacture’s code on the back. These clocks or this popular form is commonly called a ‘School House’ clock in this country because they were often used in school rooms across this nation. The Seth Thomas version of this clock is, in my opinion, the model by which all others are judged.

This is a very special example. The case is mahogany and has recently been refinished. Mahogany examples do not appear in the marketplace very often. The vast majority of the school clocks seen today are constructed in oak. The fact that this example is constructed in mahogany would imply that it was made for an office or perhaps even a residential setting office. The dial bezel is barss and has been recently polished. The spring wound movement is brass construction and is die stamped by the Maker on the front plate. It is and designed run eight days on a full wind. These clocks are very good runners.The brass faced pendulum bob can be viewed through the glass door in the front of the case. This example also has the added features of having a full strike train. That means that this example will strike each hour on a wire gong mounted inside the case. The third hand is a calendar hand. This red hand will advance daily. One must make their own adjustments for the variations in lengths of months. The dial is painted on tin and features Roman style hour numerals numerals. The calendar date in Arabic style numerals is positioned around the perimeter of the dial. The manufacture’s name is painted just below the center of this dial in block lettering. In addition to this, the firms name of ‘P. Orr & Sons / Madras Rangoon & / Calcutta’ is also printed on the dial just above center. The Maker’s label, now with losses, is pasted inside the clock onto the backboard. This clock measures approximately measures 23.5 inches long. This is an outstanding example.

The firm P. Orr & Sons had locations in Madras, Rangoon and Calcutta. It was a firm of Jewelers and gold and silversmiths. They claimed to be one of the pioneering manufacturing firms of India. The Madras factory employed as many as 600 artisans at one time alone. It is easy to speculate that this very clock was purchased by the Orr & Sons firm and displayed it in their business. During the approximate period of 1840 through the1920’s, the American clock companies did a very healthy business of exporting inexpensive time around the world. This clock is a very good example of that process in that it is an American made clock with a use in India.

This clock is inventory number 217017 and is $675 fully serviced and in excellent working order.

About Seth Thomas of Plymouth and later Thomaston, Connecticut.

Thomas was born in Wolcott, Connecticut, in 1785. He was apprenticed as a carpenter and joiner, and worked building houses and barns. He started in the clock business in 1807, working for clockmaker Eli Terry. Thomas formed a clock-making partnership in Plymouth, Connecticut with Eli Terry and Silas Hoadley as Terry, Thomas & Hoadley.

In 1810, he bought Terry’s clock business, making tall clocks with wooden movements, though chose to sell his partnership in 1812, moving in 1813 to Plymouth Hollow, Connecticut, where he set up a factory to make metal-movement clocks. In 1817, he added shelf and mantel clocks. By the mid-1840s, he changed over to brass from wooden movements. He made the clock that is used in Fireman’s Hall. He died in 1859, whereupon the company was taken over by his son, Aaron, who added many styles and improvements after his father’s death. The company went out of business in the 1980s.


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